Campus Free Speech

Offended Cornell Students Freak Out After Football Coach Tweets Sombrero Picture

'I expect a response to this from the Minority Liaison.'


Screenshot via Roy Istvan / Twitter

Cornell University Football Coach Roy Istvan apologized to students who were offended by an image he tweeted: an image of two of his players wearing sombreros.

Why were they wearing sombreros? Istvan awards the big hat to the player or players who best represented team spirit on the field after a game.

This practice has displeased some members of MEChA de Cornell, a Mexican student group.

"They're appropriating a culture that isn't theirs and using it as a joke," wrote one student on MEChA's Facebook page, according to Campus Reform. "It's disgusting and I'm ashamed that you can't see that."

The Facebook page's administrators posted a link to Cornell's Bias Response Team and encouraged students to file a complaint against Istvan. (BRTs, readers will recall, are a threat to free expression on dozens of campuses.)

Another person demanded action from the student-government.

"What is your [the Student Assembly's] response to this?" asked the student. "So many of your fellow students' culture is being used as a prop consistently on this campus and it is supported publicly by this university. Will you pass a proposition to recommend a faculty/staff diversity and cultural sensitivity training? Or will you just push it under the rug as you did the Cinco de Octubre event? I expect a response to this from the Minority Liaison."

You'll be hearing from the Minority Liasion! was apparently enough of a threat to persuade Istvan to apologize.

"I am truly sorry for the cultural insensitivity and understand how our expression of pride came at the expense of others in the Cornell community," he wrote on Twitter.

The image was initially retweeted by Cornell's official Twitter account, which prompted one member of student-government to seek an apology from the university.

"Publically supporting this is absolutely unacceptable, and I request that you remove this immediately," the student wrote.

Some students in the Facebook group didn't care about the sombrero-wearing. Other students weren't outraged. Still others were outraged about the outrage.

Perhaps the photo should have been captioned: "No One Was Harmed, Made Unsafe, Triggered, or Microaggressed During the Wearing of This Sombrero."

Anyone want to launch a Kickstarter to bring Lionel Shriver to Cornell?